The following letter was sent to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield, MP John Weston and MLA Nicholas Simons and copied to Coast Reporter.
For more than half a century, the marine environment of the Lower Sunshine Coast has been protected by fisheries officers living where they work. As our current Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield recently stated, “Canada’s oceans are central to the way of life and livelihoods of many communities and are valued as an essential resource by all Canadians.” He cited the oceans as a national treasure and assured Canadians that protection and conservation of fisheries resources are a key component of fisheries management.
Fast on the heels of that assurance came the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) announcement that the two fisheries officers positions on the Lower Sunshine Coast have been eliminated. These officers will be allocated other duties off-Coast. Fiscal restraint is cited as the reason.
Residents of the Sunshine Coast will understand the dire implications of this incompetent and radical decision made by federal bureaucrats. We need to step forward to oppose what the DFO has dictated will be done. The Sunshine Coast will be robbed of the vital protective presence which has worked seamlessly for many years and replaced with a gossamer-thin idea that will cost us far beyond two fisheries officers’ yearly salaries. More to the point, the damage to the “national resource” will be incalculable.
Take action. Call MP John Weston. Call the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Vancouver. Ask questions. Write to Keith Ashfield. Sign the postcards to John Weston that sit on local store counters. Talk to MLA Nicholas Simons. Get involved. Now is not the time in our world’s history to disrespect the environment. As citizens, we have power enough to rise against such folly.